Topgolfgears Morning 9: Quiet on the first tee? | Ryder Cup highlights | Tony Ro-no

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1. Sitting Mickelson
Live updates are outside the scope of this newsletter, but as highly perishable as the news may be, but looking ahead to the rest of the week, Rory McIlroy is playing exceedingly poor golf. Jordan Spieth is playing superbly, as is Paul Casey. The rest of the combatants are availing themselves as expected, Fleetwood/Molinari, perhaps a bit better, as Tommy’s two late birdies salvaged a point in the morning session for the Euros.
  • Interesting, though, as Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard notes, “The subtext to Friday’s opening four-ball session at the Ryder Cup isn’t who will play the morning matches, it’s who is not playing.”
  • “For Europe, captain Thomas Bjorn decided to sit Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia, the final three serving as anchors of the Continent’s team for over a decade.”
  • “For the United States, Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Webb Simpson and Bubba Watson will watch the Day 1 morning session from the sidelines.”
  • “Sitting Mickelson – who has played the week’s first session every match since 1995 when he was a rookie – is particularly interesting considering he has an 8-8-2 record in four-ball play (compared to a 5-7-4 foursomes record) and is likely playing his final overseas Ryder Cup.”
2. Highlights
If you’re in the mood for highlights from the 3-1 U.S. victory in the morning four-ball session, .
3. All quiet on the first tee?
Potentially worthless information, but interesting, given the literal build up of the area around the first tee (which holds 7,000 fans), and the figurative ratcheting of excitement. Subjectively, the crowd seems more subdued than expected, but that will assuredly change.
  • Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner…”Eager fans streamed through the gates at 6:30 a.m. local time and headed toward the massive stands behind the first tee. Built to seat more than 6,800 – easily the largest in tournament history – it’s an impressive structure that gave the Ryder Cup an even grander feel. But the late-arriving fans, either because of too many reserved corporate areas or heavy traffic in the area, didn’t even completely fill up the grandstand by the time the first fourball made its way to the tee.”
  • “In fact, the entire hour lead-in was surprisingly flat. The first loud cheer came at 7:37 a.m. – about a half hour before the first ball was in the air – as Ian Poulter ambled down the path to the left of the tee. He waved to the crowd, then apparently decided to join them – a few minutes later, he reappeared at the top of the grandstand, flinging hats and taking selfies as electronic dance music pumped through the speakers.”
4. More tales of first tee nerves
ESPN’s Tom Hamilton with a roundup of player remarks on the difficulty of the opening tee shot at the Ryder Cup.
  • Ian Poulter…“I’ve tried to explain to a number of people through the years what that tee shot means and what the feeling is in your body when you’re walking down. And as a player that’s played in multiple majors now, it’s different [from those]. Walking to the first tee at Augusta, walking to the first tee at St. Andrews, walking to the first tee in The Ryder Cup is that different. That’s very hard to explain.”
  • Justin Rose…”You never get comfortable with it. I don’t think you can ever really walk on to that first tee Friday and go, ‘yeah, this feels good,’ or ‘this feels normal’. “You feel alive. I think José Maria Olazábal gave us a little memento one year, and it says, ‘All men die but not all men live.’ I think what he meant by that is feeling that adrenaline, that emotion, I think that is what it’s all about.
5. A course fit for a king
Entertaining stuff from John Leicester at the AP looking at the history of Le Golf National.
  • “Although this won’t be uppermost on the players’ minds as they negotiate the artificial hills and lakes, the venue can quite literally claim to be fit for a king: It’s built, Chesneau said, on land that used to feed France’s royals before they lost their heads to the guillotine in the French revolution.”
  • “When queen Marie Antoinette, who was put to death in 1793, used to hanker for cake, the wheat for her flour may very well have been harvested from around here. The erstwhile fields now peppered with golf holes and lush greens served the nearby Chateau de Versailles , where King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, his wife, lived before the revolution of 1789 forced them to Paris…Left of the fairway on No. 14 is a squat stone tower that dates back to that time; one of what used to be 12 gateways to the cereal fields that supplied the royal household.”
6. Further commentary on the Tiger Effect
A few morsels from an AP Report…”The immediate beneficiary is the NBC Sports Group, which has this weekend’s Ryder Cup on Golf Channel and NBC. It also had last weekend’s Tour Championship and saw a ratings increase of 178 percent. Sunday’s final round had a 4.45 Nielsen rating. The round also had 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC’s digital platforms according to the network.”
  • “Fox is hoping that the Tiger Effect will be at its best in June, when the U.S. Open returns to Pebble Beach. With the tournament being on the West Coast, that means most of the coverage will be in prime time in the Eastern and Central time zones.”
  • “The 2015 U.S. Open, which was the last time it was held out West, averaged 3.5 million viewers. By comparison, last year’s coverage on Fox and Fox Sports 1 averaged 2.85 million viewers, which was an improvement from 2017 (2.67 million) when Woods did not compete.”
7. U.S. Mid-Am
Meanwhile, at the Mid-Am…sorry, Boner.
  • AP Report...”Kevin O’Connell won an all-North Carolina final in the U.S. Mid-Amateur, beating Brett Boner 4 and 3 on Thursday at Charlotte Country Club for a likely Masters invitation.”
  • “O’Connell, a 30-year-old former golf equipment representative from Cary, also earned spots in the U.S. Open next year at Pebble Beach and the next two U.S. Amateurs.”
  • “You will be hard-pressed to find a bigger fan of the game than me and I certainly understand the importance of the USGA, and how great their championships are,” O’Connell said. “To be the champion right now is probably what I am most proud of and focused on. Just simply being a champion. All the stuff that comes along with it, I think that will hit me a little big later on.”
8. Ro-no
Tony Romo, as you know, advanced through pre-qualifying. Now, he’s having a tougher time in the real deal.
  • AP Report…”Tony Romo was 11 over par for 27 holes Thursday in the first stage of the Tour’s Qualifying Tournament.”
  • ‘The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback opened with an 8-over 79 at Firewheel at Garland Bridges, and had a 3-over 39 on the Masters Nine. He was 74th in the 76-player field, with the top 22 and ties advancing to the second stage.”
  • “I’ve felt pressure with playing (tournament golf) before, but I just didn’t play well today,” Romo said. “Off the tee I struggled and made everything very difficult. I made way too many high numbers. Like anything in golf, you have to go back and see what the reasons were and then subtly work on them.”
Best of luck with the subtle work!
9. A message from the GOAT
Staying with the quarterback theme, Tom Brady posted the below to Instagram.
GolfWRX Morning 9: Quiet on the first tee? | Ryder Cup highlights | Tony Ro-no

GolfWRX Morning 9: Quiet on the first tee? | Ryder Cup highlights | Tony Ro-no

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